On the Edges of Fame

The crazed fan story is practically a sub-genre in fiction. This special kind of stalker makes the news, too, but many people are fanatical to a lesser extent. They collect autographs, contribute to fan fiction sites, follow film stars and sometimes spend impressive amounts of time & money hunting down their quarry, only to smile and stutter “I’m your biggest fan” or something similar.

Occupying the space on the edges of fame, most of these people simply feel a deep and unusual connection to someone they admire. One of my friends has a serious crush on Richard Armitage. He’s a very handsome actor, but I don’t see him bathed in the golden light that she experiences. She’ll watch him in ANYTHING and exchanges comments with a worldwide fan base on the Internet. When he appeared in a staged reading of a not very appealing play in New York, she was anxious to go and engineered (through a polite request sent backstage) him coming out to greet his fans after the show.

Did she pose for a photo with him? No. She was just happy to smile and say hello. Perhaps if she’d snapped a dual selfie she’d be over her crush?

Her passion for the star of “North & South” (the genesis of her yen for him) and featured actor in “The Hobbit” has inspired me to think about the line that real celebrities stalkers cross. She is definitely NOT in their camp and yet she gushes about him and professes to be mystified that I do not share her feelings. So how do people go from fan to crazed, fanatical, stalker? What is it in their lives — or in the image of their prey — that transforms a basically good feeling into an overwhelming craving?


I think that’s the key. My friend may appear to be obsessed, but she is more bemused or enchanted. She doesn’t believe that the object of her passion returns her feelings. The crazed stalker does and THAT is a great starting point for a story.

No wonder there are so many celebrity stalker characters.


  1. Ugh, that’s rather creepy. Makes me glad I’ll never be famous enough to become someone’s obsession. Hard to believe a fantasy can become so… overpowering.

    • Candy Korman

      Umm…. should I tell you the truth about stalkers? I guess so. Although the celebrity stalkers make the news and become stock characters in fiction, most stalkers are obsessed by ordinary people. Colleagues from work, customers in a store, former romantic partners are all common stalker/prey relationships. The fantasy that the stalker weaves comes from their internal world. The object of their obsession, is more like a prop. A while back I was fixed up on a date by a woman I knew from my gym. He was good looking and well spoken and NUTS! I didn’t really catch on to the last one until we’d gone out a few times. He had stalker potential and I wound up giving the doormen instructions to say I was OUT! Sometime in there his psychiatrist died and he went off the edge. I had a few tense encounters.

  2. I have had the opportunity to meet a few “celebrities” over the years but not in stalkery ways. Many times it has been part of the function of cooking for a living. When you work high end there is always a chance to meet and see people because everyone eats.

    One of the biggest was Susan Sarandon. She stayed for a week at the spa I worked at a while back when Robin Williams booked it for his wife’s birthday with 40 of her friends. Billy Crystal’s wife was there and Mr. William’s wife made daily visits to the kitchen.

    On another note, I liked Richard Armitage in Robin Hood over other work. But that was a good series for its first two seasons.

    • Candy Korman

      Because of living in NYC and specifically in the Village, I see quite a few celebrities on a regular basis. They are my neighbors. My best celebrity spotting vantage point happens to be the coffee bar I go to most mornings after the gym. You’d be amazed by the people who walk by — on their way to yoga class, visiting a doctor, walking the dog or bringing their kids to school. My favorite with Peter Dinglege walking his dog while he was in an Off-Broadway play. He’s very friendly and sweet.

      Part of the ethos of the hood is to either ignore or just acknowledge with a smile or nod. If they talk to you, it’s an opening. If not, the most you say is “loved your work in…” The lesser known actors LOVE being acknowledged.

      The stalker thing is terrifying and this non-stalker attitude is one of the reasons people like Jackie Kennedy Onasis chose Manhattan as the place to raise her kids. Of course some celebs draw attention to themselves — I wanted to yell at Alec Baldwin recently. He was screaming at someone on his mobile phone while his poor little doggie pooped. I felt sorry for the dog. LOL…

      Although celebrity stalkers make it into fiction, real stalkers are more likely to go after regular folks. Real crime is less spectacular than fiction…